Fandom: Books » Harry Potter
Language: English, Rating: Rated: T
Chapters: 7, Words: 18,67
Summary: What's really Missing inside you? WBWL. The beginning of a fic on FF.N.
Please, please forgive me,
But I won't be home again.
Haley Jane Potter sat in the window of her huge, empty bedroom. All the rooms were the same size in this damned house, but her room could easily be mistaken for a servants, holding only a straight-backed wood chair by the window, an old, wooden child's cot, a worn down old baby blue wardrobe that had long since faded to grey, and a rickety bed with sheets so old that spikes of plastic tore the soft skin of the girl who lay in it every night. All of this furniture was standing, squashed together, in one corner, making the huge room look even larger. The bay window that looked out onto a grey sky was littered with tiny, dead bugs.
She hated it.
At that moment, she was curled up in the window, hugging her tiny frame and sobbing bitterly. She had just received her Hogwarts letter, and had immediately raced down the stairs, intent on showing her parents the miraculous letter. She had sprinted through the kitchen, knock Dibby, Blink and the family cat Paws flying as she race towards the garden, where her parents and brother were. She had reached the conservatory door, and was about to push it open, when she had caught snatches of conversation from inside.
"…Well done, son, well done…"
"…Can we go out please dad? To celebrate? Oh Please…"
"…just call that diner, down Hogsmede. I'm sure they can spare your favourite table on the roof, you being the boy who lived…"
A few minutes later, in which Haley stood outside the door, listening to her parents preparing the 'special night for three', her tiny heart breaking, her three other family members flung open the door she was standing behind (making her fly into the wall and slide down it painfully, agitating her already stinging back from the last beating), and barely spared her a glance as they walked, as one to the fireplace, James swinging Charlus onto his shoulders as his son laughed madly from his perch on James' shoulders, high above everybody else. Like always.
The happy family vanished into the floo, their oldest child, the fragile, raven haired girl with the x-ray eyes, left along in the house of nightmares, with no heart, and no hope.
I have to get out…
You won't cry for my absence, I know -
You forgot me long ago.
Ron Weasley stood at the window of attic room, staring over a dull, dark, and misty countryside. His Hogwarts letter was clutched in his shaking hand and tears poured down his face. He had finally got his infamous Hogwarts letter, and had sprinted down the stairs (very similarly to another child a few hundred miles away had half an hour prior), only to find that his mother was busy Ginny, dressing her and putting much (rather age-inappropriate) makeup on her. He had gathered (from Ginny's exited squeals) that Charlus Potter had been spotted by a photographer in Hogsmede, and was now signing autographs outside a diner.
"I might actually meet him!" she had said "The Charlus Potter!"
Ron had tried in vain to tell his mother that he had his letter, had begged her to listen to him for one minute. Eventually, though, his mother had snapped.
"Shut up, Ronald! Stop talking about things you don't understand!" she had screamed, backhanding him so hard that he had staggered backwards, shocked. His mother never hit him! "We need the Potter fortune, so Ginny has to marry Charlus! Get to your room – I honestly don't care about that letter right now!"
Ron heard the floo roar, and realised, with a thrill of fear, that he was now along in the house. Percy was with his father at work, and the twins were at their friend, Lee Jordan's house for the night. Nobody needed him. Nobody wanted him.
I have to get out…
Even though I'm the sacrifice,
You won't try for me, not now.
All Hermione could hear the liquid dripping out of the ruins of the broken bottle that had just been hurled inches from her head, breaking into a million pieces with a smashing noise that echoed around her head like cannon fire. Her cheek was pressed into the cold, tile floor, and she could feel the beer seeping into her hair, mixing with the blood and making her normally untameable hair matted, flat to her head. She caught a few word of what her father was saying, though, and they brought tears of agony to her eyes.
"Freak… School… Vernon warned me… This would happen… Little slut…"
Hermione felt one more crunching kick to the ribs, and then something light landed on her back, making her flinch.
"There… Get to… School… bitch… out… get out…"
With that, she felt her father's harsh, cold fingers clamp around her small throat, and lift her from the ground. She stayed limp, thought, knowing the consequences of struggling. A second later, she heard the front door open, and felt her already bruised cheek hit the wet gravel of the front path. She heard a slapping sound in the puddle beside her, and looked up to the door just in time to see the orange, florescent light of the front hall disappear behind a closed door. She reached her hand out to the puddle beside her, and pulled the sopping wet Hogwarts letter up to eye level.
She stared at it for a few seconds, before breaking down, lying on her back in the rain and crying and screaming and pleading with nobody. The neighbours all heard her screams, but they didn't come out and see if she was ok.
They never did.
I have to get out…
Even though I'm the sacrifice,
You won't try for me, not now.
Leo Black sat in the attic on his second day of punishment, staring out of the window at the misty night. It was full moon (though it didn't look it), and his father was with his uncle Moony, so he would probably forget to give him food the next day. Leo was particularly pessimistic tonight, his thoughts filled with sympathy. He didn't feel sorry for Moony, no. He doubted that he could ever pity the monster that abused his best friend, Jake Lupin, just because his mother died during childbirth. Just like Jake could never smile at the man who starved and neglected his son just because he was in grief about the wife who had left him after having his first son.
No, Leo was feeling sorry for Jake, who was spending the werewolf transformation locked in his room, biting and scratching himself in bloodlust, because his father was hogging the wolfsbane. Through the night, Leo had whispered reassurances in the dark, willing Jack to hear them. He knew it was selfish, but he really wanted somebody to be his whisper in the dark, to silently will him to carry on when his father got drunk and shoved him around, and to be his hope when hope was gone.
Leo Black sobbed bitterly, hatefully, until the light of dawn shone through the tiny window far above him. Yet, nobody stumbled through the floo. His father didn't trudge up the stairs to the attic, and unwillingly open it like always. He was alone.
I have to get out…
And if I bleed, I'll bleed,
Knowing you don't care.
Jack woke to a haze of pain. Pain everywhere. Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, everywhere, overloading his systems, making him scream through his teeth and clench his eyes shut tight.
It's ok, it's ok' calm down, Jack he thought desperately, Daddy will save you soon…
But 'Daddy' never did. He knew that by now.
So, Jack Lupin just lay in a puddle of blood on the floor, wishing and wishing and wishing, wishing, wishing, wishing, for something to change. Eventually, he fell asleep, still sprawled out on his bedroom floor.
All alone, just like always… Jack's dreams held no solace, not that they ever did…
I have to get out…
Even though I'm the sacrifice,
You won't try for me, not now.
A pale, shaking girl stood in the rain outside the entranceway to Flourish and Blott's, a sopping wet book clutched in a shaking hand. The pages were soaked through, and ink ran out of the spine, landing on her white tights, and marring them like blood. Luna Lovegood desperately held back a sob of panic as she looked up and down the street, desperately trying to find shelter. It was cold, and the ice bit at her small fingers. She hadn't had much time to pack when they had taken Daddy away, screaming about mythical creatures and strange footprints.
Apparently, Mummy's death had unhinged him a little.
The cold wrapped itself like a vice around her throat, and a sense of despair washed over her as she fell. She hit the ground, and drew a shaky breath, alone in the dawn.
I have to get out…
WHERE ARE OUR CHILDREN?
Families in the muggle and magical worlds have been reporting to the authorities about a series of strange disappearances in the early hours of yesterday morning. Five children (that we know of) disappeared in strange flashes of light, and don't show up on the locatus charm, eliminating any chance of finding them. The missing children are-
Muggleborn – Hermione Granger
Son of Auror Black – Leo Black
Son of lycanthrope Lupin – Jack Lupin
Brother of Savior – Haley Potter
Son of Ministry Worker – Ron Weasley
Also, the early workers at Flourish and Blott's, Diagon, report a girl outside the shop disappearing in a flash of light, but they couldn't identify her.
What has happened to our children? Their families all didn't seem to care, and currently, the ministry is looking into abuse in the Potter house. After all, the Boy-Who-Lived deserves a good life for saving us all, doesn't he?
What's really Missing inside you?
Chapter 1 - The Creators
Six children of about eleven landed with a thump on the ground, in the middle of a wet, silent field, at dawn.
You would've wondered who they were, where they had come from, and what had happened to them, for they looked like they had all just gone to hell and back, scared and shaking, and backing away from each other rapidly.
Suddenly, two of the children seemed to recognise each other, and one scrambled quicker than lightning to the other, long, black hair flying. He was one of the tallest there, and was scarily thin, so pale he may not have seen daylight for a month, so his grey eyes stood out in his face eerily. He reached the other boy, and stared at him in horror for a second. He was covered in blood. Cuts and gouges marred his arms, and his face was scrunched up in agony from the pain of moving. He had light, sandy hair, and azure blue eyes filled with tears of agony.
"Leo" he whispered, and this seemed to bring the black haired boy out of his shock. He quickly reached the smaller boy, and knelt down beside him, pulling his back across his knees and laying his head on his bony shoulder.
Another girl started to cry.
She had curly, chestnut hair and chocolate coloured eyes, but her thin face was marred with a black eye and a split lip, and one side of her mane of hair was weighed down with a sticky, clear liquid that plastered the brown locks to her cheek. A second girl stood up and walked calmly over to her, sitting beside her and letting her cry on her shoulder. Her pale blonde hair, and thin, patched yellow dress were soaked with rain, and her bare feet were grimy, leaking blood, but she didn't complain. The third and final girl stood up, and observed the three boys, one of whom was now whimpering in pain, while the other whispered in his ear, comforting him. She had wild, wavy black hair, and emerald green eyes that watched everyone carefully. She was the first one to break the silence.
"Are those werewolf bites?" she asked, staring intently at the boy everybody had identified as Leo. After a moment of long silence, in which Leo stared at her incredulously, she seemed to lose her patience. "I said; Are. Those. Werewolf. Bites. Hm?" she said harshly, and Leo nodded uncertainly.
"Yes..." The boy seemed to think for a second, and then his eyes lit up with hope. "Can you help him? Please, their all self-inflicted – he's losing so much blood. Just… Help. Please."
The girl walked briskly over to the pair, and, in a collective, tedious effort, her and Leo managed to shift the small boy over into her lap. She pulled off her faded, violet cardigan, revealing a pale, peach tank top, started ripping large strips of fabric from her cardigan, and began pressing them to the boy's wounds. As she worked, she looked up at the group of children in front of her, a wry, grim smile playing on her lips.
"Well… I think that we should at least get acquainted." She took a deep breath, all humour dying from her face, and pressed on. "I'm… I'm Haley Potter."
There was immediate uproar from one member of the group. The lanky, red-headed boy stared incredulously at her, and then started babbling.
"So, you know the boy-who-lived?" he said excitedly. "What's he like? What happened when he defeated you-know-who-"
But the excited boy was cut off by the irate Haley. "Call him Voldemort, ok?" she said harshly. "And he didn't defeat him, he took credit for something he didn't d-"
But the girl froze mid-sentence, her eyes wide in horror. She shook her head quickly, and lowered her eyes to the floor, looking horrified with herself. There was a long silence, in which both Leo and Ron looked like they wanted to say something, but just as the silence became suffocating, the short, bushy-haired girl spoke, her voice constricted but determined.
"I can assume that you are all magical?" she spoke to the group at large. When she received hesitant nods and questioning looks, she said "I'm muggle-born. I've only just learned about the magical world, and I guessed by the fact that you're talking about 'werewolves' and 'you-know-who' that you are something to do with that. Right?" She received more nods, and seemed to observe the group for a moment, before making up her mind, and speaking. "I'm Hermione Granger."
The red-head spoke next, looking slightly abashed at his previous outburst. "I'm Ron, Ron Weasley."
Leo spoke up next. "I'm Leo Black, and my friend is Jack Lupin." Once he stopped speaking, everybody looked expectantly at the petite, soaked blonde, who smiled dreamily at them.
"Luna Maya Lovegood."
"And that, my kits, leads us onto the reason that you are here" said a calming, quiet voice above them, with an Irish lilt. The children all looked up, alarmed, to see a tall, thin woman, with coral coloured eyes and a round, rosy face. Her short, bleach-blonde hair stuck up around her face in cheerful spikes, and she was looking fondly down at the kids. She was wearing ripped, whitewash jeans, and a tartan shirt, her whole image radiating happiness. This didn't fool Haley, though. Looks can be deceiving.
She quickly squeezed out from under Jack, and darted to stand in front of the woman, protecting the children on the ground with her outstretched arms.
"Who are you, what do you want?!" she said loudly, in a voice that was much too harsh for a girl her age. The woman had a mix of curiousness and triumph on her face, which bewildered Haley for a moment, but a second later, her mask was back up.
"Hmm…" said the lady, almost to herself. "Brave and protective… Good…" The lady then seemed to shake herself out of her trance, and looked at the children with a serious expression on her face. "I have brought you here, by modified summoning, to train you. To help you reach your full potential, and achieve your destiny. You, my kits, are the future of the wizarding world. Warriors, rebels, vigilantes, you will pull the light side out of its slump, and bring a new era to the earth. Together, you will become The Creators."
There was a long silence, and the woman must have regretted piling so much information on them, because she opened her mouth to speak, but Haley beat her to it.
"Oh, of course!" she said in a nastily sarcastic voice that didn't suit her. "And you know this, how?"
"A prophecy," said the woman, not missing a beat, and seeming to be impressed by Haley's challenging attitude. "Two, in fact."
Haley flinched at the word 'prophecy', and the others could sense that she had a bad past with the word, but before they could register the expressions on her face, she had furrowed her brow back into a frown, her eyes hardening.
"Oh, really?" she said cruelly, her eyes flashing. "Well, what if we wanted to hear your 'prophecies'?" she questioned, making quotation signs with her fingers.
The lady seemed to consider her for a moment, her coral-pink eyes roaming over her.
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... and the Dark Lord will mark them as his equal, but they will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...
The Creators stride closer… Their silhouettes masked in smoke… Azure, Flame, Terra, Mist, Beacon and Shade… Lost in a cage of despair… They will rise from the ashes, and rebuild the earth, letting all be equal… The Creators, led by the Master of Death… Master, Vanquisher, Conqueror… Betrayed in turn of brother by blood… With power to control the elements, they will bring down the Dark Lord, and become the creators of a new world… They will live eternally, the guardians of this earth… The Creators stride closer… Their silhouettes masked in smoke… Azure, Flame, Terra, Mist, Beacon and Shade…
There was a shivering, echoing silence when the lady finished speaking. Hermione looked shell-shocked, her risen brows twitching as her mind worked in overload. Ron was biting his lip, his eyes wide, and his nose twitching. Leo's jaw was dropped, his grey eyes flashing with curiosity. Luna, as per usual, looked unperturbed. But Haley had a look of fury on her face, her eyes murderous.
"Is this some kind of joke?!" she screamed, her emerald eyes narrowed in fury. She stepped forwards, her fists clenched and her jaw set. "How on earth can I believe you?! You bring me here- Expecting me to- I-..." Her face then crumpled, and her head dropped. "My brother's the special one… Not me." Then she looked back up, her eyes a steely, molten iron. "Not ever."
A flicker of sympathy passed through the woman's eyes, but it was gone in an instant, as a candid expression crept onto her face.
"Well, Haley," she said, and Haley's head shot up, off guard for once, as shock flitted her face. Nobody ever remembered her name. The woman seemed not to notice her shock. "I heard the first prophecy, which was conveniently conveyed to me by my old friend, Sybil Trelawney, on the eighteenth of April, 1980. I was intregued, and I assumed," (at this, the woman's nostrils flared) "that Albus would know what to do, so I put Sybil, who, mind you, wasn't exactly my closest friend, under the imperious curse, and had her covey the prophecy to Albus, thinking that he could interpret it."
"Well, soon after, on the thirty-first of October, 1981, I heard of a commotion in Godric's Hollow, where two of my closest friends lived." At this point, the woman's eyes became suspiciously wet, but she didn't raise a hand to wipe the tears away. "They had been... They had been babysitting for two twins in the house of a neighbour," she said in a choked voice, "and... He had attacked. Voldemort. I pulled their bodies from the ruin, and went in, hoping to get the babies's bodies out too, assuming that he had killed them. I reached the top floor, and entered the room, only to find two, acceptably healthy, babies, and Voldemort's corpse on the floor. One had a lightning-bolt shaped scar on their forehead, and the other had power-runes etched up their left arm. One quick observation proved that the one with the power runes, the girl, was the one who had defeated the Dark Lord, as the scar on the boy's forehead had pieces of wood in it, proving that it had been made by the jagged edge of the crib he was lying in. I healed them both, but the runes on the girl's arm wouldn't leave. My hand shook as I healed the boy, leaving a scar on his forehead."
There was a long silence. Ron's mouth was working silently, and Leo's brow was furrowed. Even Luna looked troubled.
"That... That was you?!" said Haley, wide-eyed, but before the lady could reply, Hermione interrupted loudly.
"Ok, wait, wait, wait." She said, chewing her lip. "How the hell can you remember that far back?! According to her," (she gestured towards the lady) "you were a baby. What the hell?! And, the second prophecy is so vague, how do you even know that it refers to us?"
Haley sighed loudly, looking over at the woman. "Even if I do believe you about all of this, this is all going to take a lot of explaining, isn't it?"
The corner of the woman's mouth lifted into a lopsided grin, and Haley felt surprisingly safe around her at that moment.
"You bet it is, kid. You bet..."
Chapter 2 - 1995
The girl slipped silently along the left side of the street, her combat boots barely making a sound as they skirted around puddles and broken beer bottles. The lights flashed around her as she passed the entrances to brightly lit betting shops and casinos, multicoloured rays of light pouring onto her as she passed the windows. The rain showed no sign of easing, but, strangely enough, when the girl reached the door to Caesar's Palace, her clothing was bone dry. She came came to a stop in front of the large, glass double doors as pale, creamy light landed on her face. Her green eyes shone under her hood as a ray of light flashed across her irises, making her eyes as pale as that of something that had died a long time ago. Blind. The girl seemed to take a deep breath, and her whole demeanour changed. Her figure became taller, more imposing, and more noticeable. Darker, most definitely.
When the girl strode through the doors, dressed thoroughly in black, a shiver ran down the spines of many nearby, as she stared imperiously around, mouth curling into a slight smirk. One hand slipped up to her hip as she strode confidently towards the front desk. Only two thirds of each finger were visible, as she wore slick, black fingerless gloves, and only a thin band of pale skin was shown just above each wrist, above which her black hoodie sleeves fell.
"$1,000,000 in chips." she said confidently to the receptionist. Her accent was slightly English, but it was well hidden. She reached into her hoodie pocket, and brought out a small, silver briefcase the size of her fist, flipping it once in her hand and then slipping it open and taking out half its contents. The receptionist nodded and handed her what she had requested in a rather small bucket. She nodded her thanks and walked confidently over to the largest poker table, in the centre of the casino.
A seat was open next to a rather portly looking woman. She sat elegantly, and observed the people sitting around her. At her left side sat a sullen looking, shadow browed man with flat, red hair, and opposite her sat a tall, light-haired man in green and a shorter, slouching man with his face covered by a hood. She seemed to become slightly disappointed, as if she had been deprived of a privilege, but all emotion on her face was fleeting and quickly wiped away.
"Welcome to the table," the dealer muttered to her. She nodded smoothly, and the first hand began. Two cards landing in front of her. She lifted the edges slightly revealing two nines, both red.
"I'm in," she said, her face betraying no emotion. This was a job, not a vacation, but there was no reason why she couldn't win a few bucks. Besides, she had a new trick that she wanted to test out. The flop came out; three kings. A very unlikely hand as well as an extremely dangerous one. One look at his face showed that the red-head had the final king. This would be interesting.
"I raise $5000," Ginger asserted. The woman beside the girl called - her and the thoughtful-looking girl. The next card came out, and the bet was increased to $50,000. This time only the girl called. The final card - the river - was next. Ginger smiled. "I raise to $100,000."
The girl smirked slightly. "I raise to $200,000," she said quietly. The man with the king sneered at her.
"$400,000" he said, his lip curling in a picture of ignorance. "You're ten years too young to try to bluff against me!" he asserted, but the girl kept pushing. Her haunting green eyes turned to stone, and the man with the king lost resolve.
"$500,000," she said, and the man with the king broke down.
"I fold," he said quietly, throwing in his cards. The girl smiled; the new trick had worked perfectly and she had made $400,000. Her task was not yet complete - she still had not found the man she sought. But it was odd, the target should have been here quite a while ago. While her mind wandered, a man joined the table. His had rather pale skin, with eyes full of greed under a low hood.
"Ma'am!" the dealer's cry drew the girl out of her own mind. "Ma'am, do you call?"
The girl looked at her cards; an ace and jack, both spades. This was a perfect hand. "I'll call," she said to the waiting dealer softly.
The cards were out. This time only two others were in the hand; the portly woman and the newcomer. The newcomer had a two and a seven- a very weak hand, while the lady had a pair of nines, both black. The flop was dealt. A three, a seven and an ace came out. After the green eyed girl placed her first bet, the portly woman folded leaving the girl and the newcomer to finish. The hand reached $300,000. This was it.
"Show your cards," the dealer said to the players.
"Two pair, aces and queens," the girl said softly, looking to the newcomer. If he was truly her target, he would have three sevens.
"Too bad, you were close with that," the newcomer said. "Triple sevens," he revealed his cards with a toothy grin. The girl smirked, happily handing over the money. She had found her target.
The next were soon out, and the girl's brow furrowed under the hood, silently cursing her bad luck. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Soon she would be playing at too much of a disadvantage to continue, but she didn't let herself react, quashing her emotion again.
She tried to let out subtle signs to her opponents that her cards were better than theirs, but either the slouched man and the newcomer's cards were that good, or they weren't buying it. The portly lady and the red-head seemed to be taking the same route as the slouched man in the last round, so their cards were obviously worse than hers if they had decided to step out. That, or she was just being reckless. The sandy-haired man threw his cards in soon enough, so, when it came to her turn, she quietly slid a black, sharp dagger from her belt, and placed it in the centre of the table, locking eyes with the newcomer as she did so.
Everything went quiet for a moment.
Then the slouched man, laughing like a coyote, threw his cards in, and the girl smirked. He knew that she was bluffing, but he still helped her. He was either very kind or very stupid. Coyote sat back in his chair, hands locked behind his head. It was only the girl and the newcomer now.
The girl allowed herself to look tense, predatory. I want that money, her body seemed to project. The newcomer picked up his coins, and hesitated for a moment. Give me that money.
Then, he threw his cards face down, and the girl sheathed her knife and took the pot into her bucket, her cards still unknown. She ignored the table until she heard the newcomer speak quietly.
"You were bluffing weren't you?" he said.
His exterior was calm. On the inside, though, rage roared loudly. The girl looked across the table to the dealer, and her cards had disappeared into the shuffle. No proof, of course, so she just shrugged. This was just what she wanted, she wanted to rile him up and lure him into a place where he could be subdued quietly. "If you think so."
She turned and walked out of the casino.
Several minutes later, the newcomer who he had just beaten walked into the pub that the girl was in. Just like always, the girl observed from the shadows as the man looked around for her. Now all that was left was to finish the job quietly. She walked silently out into the open in front of him, and his eyes narrowed at the sight of her under his hood. He quickly pulled her to his side and slipped into the shadows, and she made no attempt to shake him off as they turned on the spot and disappeared
The two reappeared in an empty room, and the girl quickly broke free of his grip, pushing him to the floor in a motion so fast that it became incomprehensible. With a flick of her wrist, the man was tied to a conjured chair in the centre of the white room, wand snapped beneath the girl's boot. She leered over him menacingly, and she could tell that his 'revenge' wasn't going as well as he had planned.
"Hello, Mr. Yaxley." she said.
Half an hour later, the girl walked back into the casino, alone. If you looked closely, you could see blood dried around her nails. She plonked her bucket in front of the surprised looking receptionist, and made her way back over to the main table. Coyote was still sat there. She reached into her pocket and pulled out the small, half full briefcase, snapped it open, and slammed it down in front of Coyote.
Everything was silent.
He looked from the case to the girl and back. Then he stood.
The pair stared into each other's eyes with steely gazes for longer than anyone could count. A battle of wills beneath hoods. Just as the tension became so palpable it felt that one movement might set the fuse, Coyote threw his head back and laughed.
Chapter 3 - High-Maintinance Family
Luna stretched daintily and yawned into her pale hand as she slipped down the corridor towards the black door at the end, the moonlight reflecting off her blonde hair like quicksilver. By the fact that there were no yells of outrage, screams of pain, roars of laughter or loud, exuberant bouts of story-telling coming from the room, the whisp-like girl could deduct that she was one of the first to have arrived that night from her mission, and that when the others did arrive, most of them would either be;
A) Cranky and grumpy,
B) Loud and wild,
C) On a caffeine high, or
D) Very, very, very drunk.
Luna sighed in a significantly exasperated way, remembering the last time Leo and Haley, or Dawn and Dusk as they were known to most, had had a drinking contest. They had gotten so drunk that Haley had been gulible enough to take Ron's dare and had kissed Leo for so long that they had both passed out of asphyxiation, and Jake, who had joined in halfway through, had pinned the pair to the ceiling with super strong silly string, a new invention of Hermione's, and promptly passed out. This had, of course, left Luna to cart all their sorry arses off to bed; the blonde was the only one who could hold her drink.
Approaching the black door at the end of the coridor, Luna strained her ears to catch any sound from the room, and soon, she heard the low, even breathing of a teen eminating from behind the door. Taking care to be as quiet as possible, Luna placed her hand flat against the door, her fingers splayed like a fan, and the door creaked open after a second. Luna crept through them.
The room she walked into had a high ceiling strung across with six sleeping bags, all in strange colours. Every inch of the walls was covered in paintings of many different things - muggle basketball players (Jake and Leo), famous authors and inventors (Hermione), mythical beasts and bowls of fruit (Luna), and famous quidditch players (Ron and Haley).
The room was cosy and tightly packed; there were four squashy red couches surrounding a merilly burning fire, and on three of the walls, there was a huge bay window, now covered, which streamed sunlight most days, lighting up the room. Around the couches were chests and bags thrown haphazardly to the floor, holding god-knows-what.
Luna glanced around, trying to determine where the breathing was coming from, and soon her attention was brought to the black and purple sleeping bag hanging high above the fireplace, and she laughed silently. There lay Haley, sprawled out on her sleeping bag, mouth wide open and fast asleep. Years ago, Luna would've been repulsed by the sight (Nargles are flying into your mouth!), but now the Air elemental found it endearing; Haley was one of her best friends and she wouldn't trade her for anything, even if she was an idiot sometimes.
Luna padded silently over to the couch closest to the fire, slipping into it and pulling out her photo album, anticipating a long wait for the others. She opened it to the first page and smiled at what she saw.
There, on that page, was a picture of the Creators a year after they'd first met, just after training one night. Haley was stretching, dripping with sweat and grinning with adrenaline, and Leo was beside her in a similar state; it was obvious that the two had just finished sparring. Beside them were Luna and Hermione, the Water elemental leaning on the shorter blonde, looking worn out. Luna remembered that day - it was the day Hermione had first taken control of her elemental ability, explaining why she was soaking wet. Jake and Ron both standing across from those two, and Ron apeared to be yelling out in pain as the shorter, stoic Jake shocked him with the tip of his wand. Luna remembered that as well; Ron had said something extremely perverted (as usual) and Jake had stayed emotionless (as usual).
On the next page was a picture H must have taken herself. Luna winced at the memory of that day; it was the day that Wolfsbane hadn't worked and the Creators had had to listen to the transformation, hearing screams and howls of pain and not being able to do anything for the youngest and weakest of the group. Leo had sat with his hands over his ears the whole time while Luna patted his back with a shaking hand, Hermione looked feverishly through her books for a non-existant solution, Haley took her anger out on a makeshift punching bag and Ron stood in the middle, looking lost.
The picture was of Jake after being released from the infirmary that day; the whole group of teens had crowded around him and were hugging him so hard that it looked like he couldnt breathe. Leo had his arms thrown around his best friend's neck while Hermione sobbed unabashedly into his hair, Luna clung onto his arm tearfully, Haley wrapped her arms around his chest tightly, and Ron gripped his bony shoulder like a lifeline. That was the day that the group really became family.
Luna closed the book; she could hear someone coming and by the sound of it, it was either Leo or H. Luna glanced down at herself quickly; her completely grey, skintight clothes and blue scarf were usual for her, and she looked just the same as always.
The door swung open suddenly, revealing H standing in the gap of the doorframe. Even after all these years, the muggle hadnt changed a bit; she still had the same tartan shirt and ripped jeans and strange, coral-pink eyes. H raised her hand in greeting.
"Yo," she said, and Luna rolled her eyes; some things never change.
"Hello, H," replied Luna happily, and the pink-eyed woman looked around the room, smiling when she saw Haley, but frowning slightly at the fact that there were only those two there.
"Hey, can you call me when the others arrive?" H asked, and Luna nodded.
"Why?" she asked.
"I have something to talk to you all about," H said, and Haley stirred in her sleep.
"Wasn' me, ah swearrr..." the Darkness elemental slurred, before falling asleep again. Luna and H burst out laughing, before H bowed out, saying something about 'meeting with that old bat'. This left Luna alone.
The fourteen-year old sighed. As fond as she was of H, her company couldn't come close to that of the other Creators. Ever since what they would only ever refer to as 'the Incident', the six teens had been like a closely-knit family; and in even the mere three days in which the group had spent on missions, it had been hard for all of them, including Luna.
Luna forced all thoughts of the Incident out of her mind. Even though it had been three years ago when Haley had been kidnapped, the wound was still raw and aching.
They hadn't been able to protect their leader.
She had been out of action for weeks.
She had been tortured, and the couldn't even-
No. Luna wasn't going to think about that now. The Incident was over now; Haley had had miracle recovery and Luna and the other Creators would never let their strong, caring leader get hurt like that again. Ever.
Luna was pulled from her thoughts when the door behind her opened, creaking, and she knew without having to look around that it was Jake - he was the only one who could sneak up on her without her having a clue that he was there.
Sure enough, soon there was another person sitting beside the Blonde, and Luna looked to the side to see the short, sandy-haired fourteen-year old by the name of Jake Akashi Remus Lupin sit beside her. The quiet, stoic werewolf was the youngest in the group - often called the 'baby' of the Creators much to his displeasure. He had already changed (how the hell was that guy so organised?) into a green shirt and grey cargo pants, his signature scarf wrapped tightly around his neck and his golden eyes glaring at Haley disaprovingly.
"How many times," Jake muttered, "how many times do I have to tell my idiotic leader to wear her glasses?"
Luna laughed; once a doctor, always a doctor. "I don't know, but I think the only reason she doesn't wear them is because she knows you'll just be there to patch her up like always when she finally does go blind."
Jake smiled proudly; complimenting his doctoring was always a way to make the Earth elemental happy and then was no exeption. The teen put his hands behind his head and leaned back against the pillows, saying casually 'I missed you', and managing to make it sound completely non-awkward.
Luna smiled serenely. Nothing had changed, even in the last three years.
Both Luna and Jake fell silent when hearing yet another pair of footsteps, these loud and ringing.
"Leo, you reckon?"
"I think so."
And then, as if on cue, the unnaturally tall, black-haired teen strolled in, nodding to Luna in greeting before glomping his best friend, who sighed in exasperated affection and shifted closer to Luna to give the Light elemental space to sit beside him.
"Why's Hale' all dressed up?" Leo asked, looking at the younger girl in the hammock with interest. She was wearing a black sweatshirt, black fingerless gloves and black jeans, and her silver-streaked hair was poker-straight, unlike it's usual mess of curls.
"Why are you?" retorted the werewolf to Leo's left, and the pale boy stuck his tongue out childishly, straightening his tie and dress-shirt with mock-dignity and sticking his nose in the air.
"Can't a man look good when he wants?"
Leo pouted, then turned to look at the fire. He shrugged.
"I had to dress up as a waitress in a fancy diner for my mission, polyjuice and all, just to assassinate the owner. It was a bloody nuisance if you ask me."
"Everything's a bloody nuisance to you," Jake deadpanned.
"Yeah, yeah," said Leo. "So, what were your missions like?"
"I had to sneak onto a marine research ship off the coast of Mexico," Luna supplied. "There was a rumour going around that they were using illegal drugs to poison the water."
"Were they?" asked Jake, interested.
"Yes," replied Luna in a story-telling voice, leaning in secretively. "I had to confiscate them, and then blow the whole thing up."
"You didn't have to blow it up," Leo put in, "you just like making stuff explode."
Luna smiled an innocent smile that could easily be described as pure evil.
A third pair of footsteps suddenly reached the ears of the three conscious people in the shared room of the Creators, these ones practical, short and sharp. A shared look between Luna, Jake and Leo and a shared 'Hermione' was all it took for the three to know who it was.
"What about me?" asked the said brunette as she walked in; the girl had brilliant hearing and always would.
"Nothing!" replied the three in unison, and after a suspicious look, Hermione let it go - they were just being idiots, as usual. The Water elemental was wearing a plum-purple business suit and a blonde wig which she tore off in utter distaste.
"Tch," she scoffed, throwing the wig to the ground and letting her frizzy, chestnut-coloured hair tumble down her shoulders. The girl grabbed her wand and said 'Whikesta!', waving it over herself, and her business suit changed into a comfortable pair of blue jeans and her favourite black hoodie, which hung to her knees it was to big.
Hermione sat on the couch across from the trio, glancing up at Haley quickly before turning back to them.
"So," said the brown-eyed teen leaning towards the three in front of her with a dangerous spark in her eyes, "do you know anything about Haley's mission? Because I've heard from along the grapevine that 'Dusk' struck again in Vegas a few hours ago, and that it certainly wasn't pretty."
"Don't say 'grapevine'," said Leo, rolling his eyes. "We all know that you mean 'information brokers'."
Hermione flipped Leo off casually, laughing, before turning to Jake and raising an eyebrow questioningly.
"Don't look at me," said Jake. "I don't know anything about her mission, except for the fact that she had to dress up." He gestured to the girl in the hammock.
"Me neither," said Luna.
"Ah, well," sighed Hermione, curling up against the arm of the sofa. "I guess I'll find out soon enough, hey?"
Luna started to reply, but was cut off by a final pair of footsteps outside the door, clomping and rhythmic against the wooden floorboards of the basement of the bungalow. After a second of silence, the door creaked open yet again and Ron came in, looking tired and drawn and wearing a policeman's uniform and dark sunglasses. The ginger stumbled over to the middle couch, ignoring everybody in the room, but he fell flat on his face on the way, snoring loudly.
Leo groaned, grabbing his comrade under the arms and hauling him over to the couch while muttering 'damn narcolepsy' darkly. The black sunglasses slipped off Ron's long nose and to the floor, and the black-haired teen dropped the boy unceremoniously onto the red sofa.
"Great!" came a voice from Leo's left, and as H seemed to materialise from the darkness Leo shrieked and jumped away yelling 'Jesus, woman!' and looking shell-shocked. Ignoring Leo, H strode over to Haley's hammock, reached up and started poking her awake while saying, "I have something very important to say to you all, and I need you all to be awake."
The blonde muggle cast a disdainful look in Ron's direction.
"I don't think that we should even try to wake him," she said.
After the whole group were settled and Haley was sitting sleepily next to the snoring Ron, H sat next to Hermione, and was silent for a moment before looking up and starting.
"I had a call," she begins, then trails off. "I had a call last night from an old colleague of mine, asking for... Something. Something I owe him from a long, long time ago. When I told him that I didn't have it anymore, he became incensed quickly; I didn't know what to do to appease his needs. But when he became calm again, he asked for something else, and it's impossible to say no to him; his magic is tying me in place."
The blonde looked up at the group with bloodshot eyes.
"You... You have to go back..."
Chapter 4 - H's Past
The reactions of the various Creators were mixed to say the least.
Haley was a whirlwind of curse words and punches, completely awake and kicking, because like hell was she going to let her family get hurt for the scum of the Wizarding world's safety. She'd rather die.
Leo was a steaming, compressed mass of tense energy, gritting his teeth and furrowing his eyebrows menacingly, because he swore never to return to the world he worked so hard to escape.
Ron was awake now, physically shaking and letting off waves of nervous energy, his nerves shot, because he couldn't go back, couldn't face the family that he had abandoned.
Hermione was pacing, all out glaring at her substitute mother and sending concerned glances at her adopted siblings, trying to think of a way out of this, because if anyone deserved this, it wasn't her comrades.
Luna was staring into space, trying to think up another one of her stupid stories to distract her from what she had just been told; it wasn't working in the slightest. She was scared; scared because her brothers and sisters were in danger, real danger, and she could do nothing about it. She felt useless.
All of the Creators were drawn from their own minds, however, when a choked voice came from behind them, sounding young and pleading and so, so afraid.
The voice was hanging on the edge of hysteria; the Creators all turned in shock to their youngest member, because nothing, nothing could bring this much emotion out of the boy. The thirteen-year old was shaking, shaking so hard that his thin frame racked, and it was only then that the others remembered Jake's uncurable fear of his father, deep-rooted and unremovable. Leo was by his side in an instant, an arm around his shaking shoulders, guiding the smaller boy to the sofa as the others crowded around, used to the ritual by now.
Haley and Leo, the two strongest, sat on either side of Jake, protecting him from harm, reassuring him with their presences. Luna burrowed into his side for comfort, Ron sat on the top of the sofa behind him for protection and Hermione sat on the floor infront of the young teen, completing the protective circle around him.
The group stayed like that for a long time, longer than they could count, before Jake fell asleep, and the Creators all turned their heads in unison towards H, faces blank.
"Why do we have to go back?" Haley asked in a soft voice, as if she was speaking for all of the group. "Why the hell do we have to help them?"
H sighed, collapsing back onto the couch behind her and putting her head in her hands. There was complete, unheeded silence for a minute
"I was born," H started suddenly, "into a slave family in Germany many, many years ago. My family were poor; I could do nothing to help them. I had a sickly mother and father that constantly worked, and as a child I was nearly always alone until I turned 16 and was sold to a rich family in Britain.
"The journey to Europe was tough; I was in a trailer with many other slaves and when I woke up in the house of my new masters I was sickly and thin. I met a boy; he was the family's heir, and was young, my age, living a tough life. While the family would not hit the slaves, they had no qualms against beating their son, and the only friend the boy had was me.
"A year after me arriving, me and the boy ran away. We couldn't just stay there any longer while he was getting hurt and I was living off little food and water each day, working my fingers to the bone every day. After a year of living rough, we met up with two more teens, formerly nobles, that we along very well with. We traveled the country together until we were 25, then decided that, with our incredible magical skills, that we would build a magic school in which to train young wizards and witches with no prejudice or slavery, where magical children could learn and grow freely."
"Wait," interrupted Hermione, "you're a muggle. How could you have taught in a magic school if you couldn't perform the skill?"
H fixed Hermione with a level stare. "I am a muggle now; but things change, Azure," she said coldly. Hermione looked like she'd just been slapped; H never called them by their code names.
After a moment of tense, awkward silence, H began again.
"We spent years building that school from the ground, and, by the time we turned thirty, it was finally ready to open. It was an extremely successful school; children I from all over the country flocked to join." H's face turned wistful. "I remember it all like it's only just happened."
"But, soon, it all came tumbling down. It was two years after the school had opened when, while strolling through the castle, I heard something... Something is wasn't supposed to hear. An army from the east started pursuing me and the other founders of the school, and we had to flee, leaving our children to lead the school in our absence. Soon the army caught up with us, and, in a fight with a General, he asked me if I would die to save my friends. I replied yes in a second. He asked me if my heart was pure. I replied yes after a second's contemplation. Then, he asked me if I would give my soul to save the earth."
H looks up, pure agony written on her face.
"I said yes immediately." H sighs, burying her face in her hands. "A second after that, a body slammed into my back, and I looked around to see the boy from my old masters house, my best friend, dead because he'd taken a curse for me, dead because I'd been too busy throwing my life away to be alert!"
H looked up at the Creators, tears running down her face.
"Don't you get it?!" she half-shrieked. "The Creators, led by the Master of Death… Master, Vanquisher, Conqueror… Betrayed in turn of brother by blood… With power to control the elements, they will bring down the Dark Lord, and become the creators of a new world… They will live eternally, the guardians of this earth…! This prophecy is talking about people who will create a new world, save the world! I gave up my soul to help them! And if you don't protect the wizarding world, my soul and those of the people in the prophecy, your souls, are all lost!"
There was a ringing silence, completely unbroken, in which the Creators stared in shock at H. Nobody said anything for a few minutes, until suddenly-
"Ok," said Jake, and the whole group jumped, staring at him, not knowing that he had woken. "Ok," he repeated, untangling himself from Luna and clambering over Hermione before standing and stretching. "If we must go into the wizarding world, then we will."
"But-" Leo started, but Jake cut him off.
"No buts," said the blonde, "I have you guys to protect me, and, even though I'm the weakest, I can still fight!"
"Ok," agreed Haley, though she still looked a little indignant. "Just on question, H."
H nodded, rubbing her eyes.
"Who was that 'old colleague'? And what did you owe him?"
H smiled a genuine smile and tapped the side of her nose. "He is a man by the name of Nicolas Flamel. As for what I owed him, well, that's a different story."
Hermione stood up and started talking immediately, always the planner. "So, when do we leave? I know there's been much fuss recently about Voldemort returning, and Haley's been having visions, but what part of the wizarding world do we have to protect?"
The group stayed up long into the night, planning their departure in a week's time. Haley, the leader, packed her two handguns. Leo, the second in command, packed his longsword and sheath. Hermione, the navigator and divisor of tactics, packed her bow and arrow. Ron, the weapon-maker, packed his throwing knives. Luna, the assassin, packed her scythe. Jake, the doctor, packed his staff. It felt, as Haley once pointed out, like they were preparing for war.
That night, when H had gone back upstairs, none of the Creators went to their hammocks, instead opting to all sleep on the largest sofa together, as if afraid to let each other go.
"As you know," Dumbledore called, bringing all attention in the room back to him, "Lord Voldemort was resurrected less than a month ago, using the blood of the young saviour, Charlus Potter." Mutters flew up and down the table; the Order meeting was one of the first to happen since the last war. "This means that Hogwarts is most likely to be in terrible danger. I have contacted an old friend of mine, and he is working diligently to find adequate protection for the school, starting next term."
As if on cue, a grey owl flew out of the fireplace, hitting Arthur Weasley in the back of the head. Mundungus Fletcher picked the dazed owl off the floor and tossed it across the table to Dumbledore, who extracted the letter from it's leg and deposited the creature in the grate.
"Ah!" said Dumbledore happily, unfolding the letter. "This is my friend now; he must have found a good form of protection!" The old wizard started reading the letter aloud, skipping over parts of non-importance. "Dear Albus... Yes, yes... Duh-duh-duh... Ah yes! 'The protection I have been able to supply is the best you find anywhere. I have managed to recruit the infamous Mercinary group; 'The Creators'."
Everybody in the room froze.
Chapter 5 - World So Cold
Ron Weasley woke to a very unpleasant, extremely persistent noise in his ear, breaking through his sleep-deprived haze. He groaned in sleepy annoyance and shifted away from the noise, burrowing deeper into the soft pillow beside him and drifting off again. There was silence for a moment before-
Something shifted beside the redhead, and then the noise started again, this time even closer to his ear. Ron made an annoyed, whiney noise in the back of his throat and shied away from the noise, but just as he started to drift off for the second time, the warm thing beside him shifted again, this time falling onto his shoulder, and something blunt and uncomfortable became lodged in Ron's ear.
Ron, deciding that there was no chance of falling back to sleep now, forced his sleep-sealed eyes open, and his vision was immediately assaulted by golden-yellow sunlight streaming through a gap in the curtains over the bay windows. He was lying in a large, messy dogpile on the red couch; Jake was using the Fire elemental's leg as a pillow, Ron was resting on Haley's warm shoulder and Hermione was hugging his arm to her chest tightly, sprawled on top of Luna, who was grasping onto Leo's ankle.
Speaking of Leo...
The persistent noise started up again, right by the side of Ron's head, and he turned annoyedly to see Leo, long, black hair sticking up in every direction, snoring loudly, his nose poking annoyingly into Ron's ear.
That little dick and his shitty Roman nose...
Ron carefully extracted himself from the pile, prying his arm out of Hermione's grip and wiping a little drool off Haley's shoulder, before climbing over the back off the sofa and padding around it to look at the scene. The teen's heart swelled.
Bathed in golden light that danced like fire, all clinging onto each other like real brothers and sisters, Ron's adopted siblings looked like fallen angels, strong and fierce and compassionate and completely untouchable.
It was at moments like this, when the Creators seemed like they could do anything, that Ron felt that he did not deserve to be part of the family.
Unlike the majority of his comrades, Ron had not been abused by his family in any way; his childhood had not been the best but it was sheltered and loving, just like all childhoods should be. Ron, being a weaponmaker, wasn't the strongest fighter, in fact, on the battlefield, he was probably the weakest apart from Luna and Jake. Ron's forte was in quick, calculated knife-throws and sharp blows to the neck and silent deaths with not a drop of blood.
He wasn't like Haley, who could run into battle grinning like a maniac and win without even trying. He wasn't like Leo, who was a cold, stone wall of defence in fights, completely unsurpassable. He wasn't like Hermione, a hurricane of movement, arrows shooting in every direction like poisonous hailstones. He wasn't like Luna, small and weak and easy to miss but able to kill in a million different ways, with eyes like a hawk, able to analyse a situation in a second. He wasn't even like Jake, a short preteen who hardly looked like much but who's scythe could turn you inside-out with a single flick.
He was weak. There was no other way of putting it.
Ron slapped himself, hard, in the forehead. This thought process was nothing new to the young wizard; the other Creators had had to talk him out of his self-pitying thoughts more times than he could count, and they had enough to deal with right now. He had to stop moping.
Ron padded quietly to the black door, opening it silently and stepping out of the Creators' room. As the redhead walked down the sunlight-filled corridor, he willed his body not to fall asleep like it longed to. If he fell asleep in the hallway there was a ninety-nine percent chance that he would be either;
A) Stepped on by Leo,
B) Drugged by Jake for a medical experiment,
C) Blown up by Luna,
D) Sent to Kingdom Come by Haley,
E) Held hostage by Hermione or
F) Mauled by wild dogs.
Most likely it would be B. Hermione let Jake get away with anything.
Ron thought back to The Kiss, smiling rather evilly. He knew that he had the power of important information over Haley and Leo, having been witness to a late-night teenage drinking spree and a sloppy, inexperienced kiss that had resulted in a bad case of asphyxiation and two very sore throats the next morning. Leo and Haley, no matter what anybody said, would never admit that they liked each other, even after The Kiss, and it was starting to get irritating. Seriously irritating.
Well, it was only a matter of time, thought Ron as he reached the end of the White-walled corridor and spidered up the ladder leading to the kitchen of the bungalow. The room was flooded with light, real light, and it was nice to see after the artificial light Hermione had charmed to stream from the bay windows in the basement. Ron pushed himself from the trapdoor in the floor, closing it behind him, and then straightened up, stretching and yawning, letting the yellow light of dawn sting his eyes.
The kitchen looked exactly as Ron had imagined it would look; a complete and utter mess. The microwave was charred and blackened; it was probably from H trying to warm up an MRE last night. There was flour coating two of the peach-painted walls, so it was clear that Mia had been around again in the last few days and attempted to bake something, failing miserably. Both the Creators' mentor and her tall, quiet friend were awful bakers.
Ron waded through an ocean of icing sugar that had piled up by the side of the trapdoor, reaching the kitchen door and managing to jiggle the lock into opening. Grinning triumphantly, the red-haired elemental padded across an immaculate, blue-themed lounge which showed obvious signs of Hermione's chronic cleaning disorder, reaching a finally door opposite the kitchen and slipping in. He came out a few minutes later, hair slightly less out-of-control, comfortable training clothes on, wand sticking out of his right boot and looking ready for a new day.
When he made it back to the disaster kitchen, Jake was there, already dressed and immaculate as usual except for a spectacular-looking bed-head. The sand-haired teen nodded in greeting to his friend, in the middle of cleaning up the room.
"Morning, Ron," said the werewolf, soft-spoken and emotionless as usual, as if last night hadn't happened. "Sleep well?"
"You certainly seemed to," Ron replied teasingly. "Your bedhead is glorious as usual, my friend. Did my leg make a good pillow?"
Jake smiled softly, puffing a tuft of hair out of his eyes.
"Yeah thanks, Ron," he replied, smiling, then turning back to the mess of the kitchen and tutting softly in distain. Without even consulting on the matter, the pair raised their wands in unison, moving them in perfect timing in a strange movement like conductors of an orchestra, and all of the mess in the kitchen cleaned itself up; cutlery and plates soared to their places in shelves, ingredients cleaned themselves off the walls and floor and the microwave even returned to it's original, unburnt form. The two looked at each other, Ron grinning triumphantly and Jake smiling benignly.
"Yeah!" said Ron happily, "I finally got that spell right!"
"Well done," said Jake absentmindedly, pulling a toaster from a draw. "Pop tart?"
Once the other creators had dragged themselves off the couch and upstairs and were dressed and ready for a day of training, Hermione found a note from H saying that she'd been called away for a few weeks and that they were let off full-time training until they left for Hogwarts at the beginning of September. Haley whooped loudly, rushing off downstairs to change and yelling 'JOINT MISSION DAY!' loudly. Leo and Ron followed, yelling the same thing happily, and the other more sensible Creators walked down after them.
Hermione couldn't help be smile, though. Joint mission days were always the best days in the world for the group; they were days when they would go on outrageously hard missions together and take down all enemies, only the six there, fighting together. It gave a real sense of togetherness. That and it was freaking funny to watch Ron fall asleep in battle.
However, when the others got there, it was to find Haley and the boys groaning over a letter that had just arrived through the fireplace.
"What does it say?" asked Hermione, curious as to what would bring down Haley's happy mood.
"Instead of training," Haley replied, "we need to go to Diagon Alley for the day to pick up supplies!"
"Seriously?" Ron said, "Won't we be around the wizarding idiots enough over the next year?"
"I'm ready to leave," came a quiet voice for Haley's left, and they all turned to see Jake standing there, changed and ready to go. The group stared.
"What?" Jake said, as Haley facepalmed, Leo stared and Ron fell asleep.
Charlus James Potter smirked as he walked down Diagon Alley, a parent at each of his elbows, people staring and pointing and taking pictures. He'd known that people would be like this; ever since he had been attacked by Voldemort at the end of last year he had been much more mysterious and alluring, even if he had had to be rescued at one point. Charlus was perfectly happy to stay in his little bubble of arrogance, until he heard on reporter say 'Oh, here comes the liar,' and it all came crashing down.
Of course people hadn't believed him. The story of him being kidnapped by Voldemort from the Triwizard Tournament and still managing to survive was improbable on a good day, and impossible on a bad one. Charlus was just about to go and slap the camera out of the reporter's hands when suddenly, everything went silent. People slipped into the shadows of the streets; Charlus felt his mother father pull him out of sight, and the slightly overweight redhead turned his brown eyes towards the entrance to Diagon Alley. They widened in surprise.
Because there they were.
They were walking in a perfect V formation; the leader was at the front, a taller member directly behind her at the back, and all the others fanned out at the leader's sides. It was obvious that it was them. No other group of hooded strangers wearing those strange colours would ever stroll into Diagon just like they were.
The leader wore pure black, her hood covering all her features. She was the infamous 'Dusk', head Mercinary and incredibly talented fighter. She strolled almost leisurely down the alley, but there was an obvious tension in her shoulders. Her hand was rested comfortably on a rifle attached to her thigh. She was the protector and commander of the group.
Behind her was the second in command, wearing white robes, 'Dawn'. He stood times taller than many in the street. An extremely well-known figure in the group, his pale jawline was just visible under the low, white hood. His back was ramrod-straight, his boots hitting the ground silently, and the longsword on his back jostled slightly with every step. He was the swordsman of the group.
To the right of the leader, dressed all in red, was 'Spark', slightly shorter than Dawn but just as well-known. His hand was at his belt, where three long, serrated knives were sheathed, ready to be withdrawn in a second. It was obvious by his stance that he was watching his leader's back. He was the weaponmaker of the group.
Behind and beside him was a short, green-clad boy with a long, deadly-looking scythe strapped diagonally across his back and a scraggly-looking scarf wrapped twice around his neck. This was 'Terra', the youngest in the group and brother of Dawn, who the group had been known to become slightly overprotective of. His stance matched Spark's, making it obvious that he was watching the other's back. He was the doctor of the group.
To the left of the leader, wearing pure, turquoise-blue robes and a hood that only covered her eyes was 'Azure', famous for her quick wit and clever tricks to fool enemies to hell and back. She was aquatinted with many an information broker, and was deadly in a fight. She was standing with her arms crossed in front of her and a bow and quiver over her shoulder, as if she was ready for anything. She was the tactics devisor of the group.
Behind and beside her, wearing pleasantly girlish lavender robes and being the shortest in the group besides Terra was 'Whisp', assassin and second-youngest in the group, feared world-wide by criminals for her ability to kill silently and in millions of different ways, the most deadly killer in the group. She had her hands clasped behind her back and was ambling happily, as if she didn't have a care in the world. She was the assassin of the group.
Together, they made what was easily the most formidable group of fighters around today.
And Charlus was absolutely terrified.
Far away, across many a sea, a blond woman in a long, black coat slipped along a sidestreet, shoes clapping against the cobblestone, beating a rhythm with the thunder overhead. She took a black cellphone out of one of the many pockets of her coat, dialled a number, and put the phone to her ear, not slowing down in her brisk walk.
"It's time we had a little talk, Pheles," Helga said dangerously into the phone, and the sky darkened like it's been covered by smoke. "A little talk about what happens when you try to blackmail somebody like me..."
"Miss. Slytherin..." the voice on the other side of the phone line stutters nervously. "Miss Sly-"
"Don't call me by the name of the family that bought me," Helga growls angrily, and the man on the phone squeaked in fear.
"Yes, I understand, Ma'am," he the worker said obediently, sounding terrified and stuttering worse than ever.
"Pheles, don't make a fool of yourself," the blonde sighed, managing to make her voice sound harsh at the same time. "I just need you to... Do me a little favor..."
"Oh, yes," replied the demon, and he could be seen in the mind's eye nodding feverently. "Anything, Ma'am."
"When that noseless idiot tries to recruit you," Helga said in a no-nonsense tone, "you will tell him no, or die. Understood?"
"Y-Yes, Ma'am," the flustered man said in a terrified voice. Helga groaned silently in annoyance. The little wimp called Aominepheles was nothing like the cheeky prankster his father, Mephistopheles had been. It felt like a waste of time threatening the fool.
"Well," Helga said after a second of silence, "just remember our conversation, young demon,"
The woman hung up before Aomine could reply, then glanced at the stormy sky wistfully.
"I'm trying to make it easier, " she said softly. "Just hang in there, Creators."
H walked away, off to find the next person she needed to threaten.
There was something off about the air that night, though. It felt like something was changing drastically all around, like the world was reforming before everybody's eyes. Mothers brought their children inside earlier, locking all of the doors and waking up from strange dreams late at night. Businessmen went home from work early, not stopping for anything, and many heard strange noises in the night all around them. Teens stayed up all night chatting, afraid to turn off their phones, afraid of what the silence would bring.
And when they all woke the next morning, nobody said anything. But the unease was still there. That night, though nobody knew it, was incredibly significant in the lives of nearly all of mankind.
On the night of the fifteenth of August, everything changed.
Chapter 6 - The Cat in the Bag
Key – Letter Writing.
Word – Haley
Word – Leo
Word – Jake
Word – Hermione
Word – Ron
Word - Luna
The morning of the first of September 1995 dawned sunny and bright. The light was a little too orange-coloured, and the air was a little too frigid for the Creators to be completely relaxed, but they ate breakfast merrily, chatting and teasing each other casually as usual. The last two weeks had passed in a blur of joint missions, dine-n'-dashes (though that was mostly Haley and Leo, and just for the hell of it) and sparring. The atmosphere had been relaxed, mostly because none of them wanted to set off any of the others, and at least half of the nights had been spent lying on the couch in front of the dying embers of the fire, simply drawing comfort from each other's presences.
Though, it was strange that every time one of the Creators woke up on a 'sofa night', Haley was still awake, perching on the arm of the couch and staring at one of the moonlight-draped walls blankly. Why this was, nobody knew, but none of the teens asked either. Their leader was the biggest enigma out of all of them.
"What do you mean?" Leo asked aloofly, leaning unnaturally far back in his chair and putting his hands behind his head. He shot Hermione an innocent look that fooled nobody.
"I mean," said Hermione clearly, as if speaking to somebody who'd just bumped their head, "that no matter how much you deny it, we all know that you're the one that pulled that prank. It's obvious!"
Leo pouted, looking away from the table to hide his guilty look, and Haley patted the top of his head, laughing.
"Awww…" said the brunette evilly, her eyes glinting. "You're blushing!" She poked his cheek with a long finger, as if testing its temperature. "You're even warm!"
The table burst into laughter at her words, Ron banging the wood with his fist, roaring, while Hermione covered her mouth to staunch her uncontrollable laughter and Luna and Jake clung to each other's shoulders, howling. Leo blushing was perhaps the funniest thing known to man.
After the laughter and Leo's hilarious blush had died down, Haley cleared her throat, and the others looked at her with interest, waiting to hear what she had to say.
"Now, you guys are gonna hate me for giving this talk," she started after a second. "I just wanted to ask you all to be careful, ok? After tonight, we'll be in enemy territory and I just don't want anything to happen to you guys, ok? Just try to spare me the worry."
"It's ok," said Leo, shifting his chair closer to Haley's. "We'll be ok."
"Plus you'll beat the crap out of anyone who dares to try to hurt us," said Hermione bluntly, smiling, "and we'd do the same for you."
After pulling her brothers and sisters into a group hug, Haley had to duck as a swerving, drunk-looking owl soared through the window behind the group, nearly hitting Haley in the face. With instincts honed from years of training, the teen snatched the dazed creature out of the air, untying the letter attached to its leg and throwing it out of the window. Unprepared for the sudden airborne-ness, the tawny owl fell into a bush outside the window with a thump, looking rather pathetic.
Haley ripped the envelope open messily, pulling a wad of parchment out of it, letting the shredded envelope fall to the floor and inspecting the letter with a blank look. When she did look up, though, her face was grave.
"The Hogwarts Express has just set off…" she muttered sullenly, and there was a long, drawn-out sigh from nearly everybody in the room. It was going to be a long, tense wait for that night when they would have to set out.
Ginny Weasley sighed as she leaned her forehead against the cool glass of the window of the Hogwarts Express. Her migraine was picking up to new heights; she closed her eyes against the flashing, yellow fields passing by and sighed in annoyance. It was safe to say that the redhead was royally pissed.
Ginny had woken up that morning to find her mother on yet another one of her 'Family Fest's as Ginny and the twins called them. The Family Fests were days when Molly would become extra sentimental about Ron's assumed death, nattering on about 'spending more time together as a family' and how 'they shouldn't mope around' when really, Molly was the only one still moping. Her father had been moping, dark bags under his eyes, and had spoken a total of two times that whole day; once to tell Ginny to be careful that term and the other time to ask Percy to pass the salt at breakfast.
Then, just to make the day even worse, Ginny had received an owl just as the train had set off from her friend Darcy, saying that she had been in a Quidditch accident a few days ago and wouldn't be coming to school until half term. And to top it off, Ginny was stuck in a compartment with the bumbling, clumsy school idiot known as Neville Longbottom, trying to calm her aching head and tune out his ramblings at the same time.
"-And it even releases poisonous gas whenever it feels threatened!" he was saying excitedly, and Ginny could practically see the stars in his eyes without even looking up. Three years ago, Neville wouldn't have even had the courage to open his mouth around somebody he wasn't best friends with, but in the summer before his third year, something about the teen had changed. It was... Hard to explain, but whenever anybody asked him about his summer, hoping to get some answers about his miraculous personality change, he would just say- 'I made some new friends!' -and leave it at that. Neville was no longer the scared, shy boy he had been; he would talk happily to anyone who would listen and had a sense of chivalry that was near-unheard of at his age.
And nobody ever found out what had changed.
"Ginny?" the brown-haired boy asked, noticing that she was no longer paying attention. "Are you-"
"Neville, will you do me a favour and shut up?" Ginny said harshly, opening her eyes and turning her head to glare at Neville. He reeled back, looking hurt, and then huffed loudly.
"You're always like this," he said annoyedly, turning away and looking at the wall, frowning. "Thinking about Charlus this and Charlus that and never about anything else. Why do you care about his so much?"
"Because he's Charlus Potter!" Ginny replied as if it was obvious, pulling her head away from the window to look Neville in the eyes. "In my first year, if it wasn't for Charlus taking that cursed diary away a the start of the year-"
"He took it because he needed a piece of paper!" Neville said incredulously, looking at Ginny as though she was mad. "And then he forgot that he needed it and threw the book out of a freaking window!"
Ginny wrinkled her nose. Ever since the start of his third year, Neville had used these annoying, American swear words like 'freaking' and 'fucker' and 'asshole'. Well, it wasn't very often that the mostly peaceful boy swore at all, but still; it annoyed Ginny to the core.
"Just grow up, Neville Longbottom!" she nearly screeched, crossing her arms and huffing. "Stop being such a git!"
With that, the fiery redhead flounced out of the room, no doubt to find a new compartment. Neville sighed, watching the sliding glass door slam shut and listening to the tinny clash of metal echo around the room. Ginny wasn't all bad, he could tell, just arrogant. She had mellowed slightly halfway through her third year, when her brother's assumed death had been announced by the Ministry of Magic and they had stopped searching, but soon she had been back to her usual self, burying her guilt and sorrow until she felt that she had time to examine it. Neville wished that somebody, anybody, would turn up and slap some sense into the girl. She had a heart somewhere deep inside.
Neville was brought out of his musings by an insistent, annoying tapping on the window. He turned to see a small, brown owl with huge eyes clinging desperately to the window as the wind threatened to blow him away. The messy-haired teen, immediately recognising the owl, grinned and stood up to pull him in. Once the owl was safely inside the cool, bright compartment, it slumped onto the table with defeat and exhaustion, cawing pathetically. Neville petted its messy-feathered head with a single finger, then tickled his underbelly, which was he exact same tan skin-tone as his finger.
"Hey, #2," he said softly, laughter in his voice. "What do those guys want to say to me today, 'ey?"
#2 trilled indignantly, as if to say 'why are you asking me?', and Neville laughed, sitting back down and opening the letter carefully. Unfolding the piece of paper, the teen scanned the letter, soon starting to grin.
-The letter started. Neville knew by the annoying name that this letter could only be from one person.
How's our honorary member doing? We all miss you like hell, even though we only knew each other for a summer or two, especially the boys. None of us have really changed- Leo's still a gluttonous giant (hey!), Hermione's still a nerdy information broker (oww, Mione, that huuurrttt), Ron's still the biggest idiot in the world (heheheh), Luna's still as air-headed as ever, I'm still the leader (dumb leader)(hey, Ron, was that the best you could do?) and Jake is still…well… Jake… (nice observation, sister). Training still sucks, and H is fine. Mia's fine too, by the way, I know that you'd want to know (Haley's eyebrows are going crazy right now, just for your information)I still ship you two :P.
Enough of Haley's blabbering(hey, Mione don't steal the paper!). We have some new information on the rumoured 'newly risen forces' of Tom Marvolo Riddle AKA. Lord Voldemort (MOLDYSHORTS). Thank you for that Ronald. Now, we know that most of the wizarding world is sceptical of the story told by Charlus Potter, but after much investigation, we here at H's house have concluded through the Grapevine (information brokers) information, much research, bribes, blackmail and the you-know-what on Haley's forearm that there is some truth to his story. Some parts that could be considered true are-
- Voldemort does currently have a material form that is not classed as an animal for or anomaly against nature/Gaia. In simpler forms, Voldemort now has a Human body that was not achieved by alchemy or dealings with demons.
- The one who helped him achieve this form was the Azkaban escapee, Peter Pettigrew.
- Some ministry workers who have been declared innocent in the past were present such as Lucius Malfoy and the animal executioner Macnair.
- Potter's blood was used as a vital ingredient in the ritual used to bring back the Dark Lord, however, it did not work completely. We think this is because Haley is the real you-know –what and has the you-know-what from surviving you-know-when. Voldemort's body is apparently as weak as a baby's currently.
These facts are facts that can and have been proved by us here at H's. However, there are also many lies and holes in Haley's brother's (NOT MY BROTHER!) story, such as-
- There was no 'grand duel' between Voldemort and Charlus – something went wrong in the ritual to bring Voldemort back and he was so weak that he could barely stand. There is no way that Voldemort could have duelled even a weakling like Charlus in his state.
- Cedric Digory was not murdered by Peter Pettigrew – the rat is too much of a coward to kill a child. On the contrary, Cedric was killed by a fault in the portkey that brought him and Charlus to the graveyard. We are looking into this fault; Jake has a theory that I cannot risk putting into a letter, but we think that the fault may not have been a fluke, if you get my idea.
That's all the information I can give right now.
Sorry for Hermione's negativity. She's in a lousy mood.
See you, Nev!
Haley, The Creators.
PS: You'll be getting a little surprise from us at you start of term feast!
PPS: Ron just fell asleep in the inkpot.
Neville leaned back, letter still clutched in his hand, considering what he'd just been told. Haley had seemed suspiciously happy and positive, while Hermione had been stoic, impersonal and formal. Both of these traits were only brought out in the teens when they were feeling stressed or pressured; something had happened. The information about Voldemort's supposed resurrection had been interesting as well. They did make sense; Charlus Potter could barely cast a good 'Expeliarmus', and expecting people to believe that he had duelled Voldemort and won was something too good to be true.
He wondered who had set up the fluke, though. Most likely, it was set somebody who had expected Charlus to grab the cup alone, and it could have been an assassination attempt before the teen could reach Voldemort, killing Cedric instead. If this was the case, the person was probably on neither Voldemort's nor Dumbledore's list of allies. Voldemort would probably need Charlus alive for the ritual, knowing the nature of many resurrection arrays, so they could have been trying to prevent the rebirth. But, then again, they couldn't have been lackeys of Dumbledore's, as the older man would do anything to keep the young 'savior' alive. The mysterious person was probably somebody who was in on the plan all along, and wanted to stop the rebirth; maybe a traitor of the Death Eaters or somebody like Hermione, with many, many, many contacts.
And then, the last part of the letter; talking about a surprise at the feast that was taking place in the Great Hall later. Haley and her big mouth; that was probably a piece of secret information that she had just written in the spur of the moment and had sent off with #2 before anybody could protest. Neville knew that it was near-impossible, but he wished that The Creators would just turn up one day to school and take Neville away with them to their world of crazy adventures and wild missions and family-like friendship. Neville, the honorary member, was often lonely, both in school and out.
Neville sighed, shaking his head to remove depressing thoughts. There was no chance that his friends could-
"Damnitt!" he swore, looking down at the tiny #2 who had just managed to drag himself off the table and had bitten Neville's hand, hard. "What was that for?"
The miniscule creature looked back at Neville with innocent eyes identical to his own, then snatched the letter from his hand before he could protest, turning it over so that the Wizard could see the back.
"What's this all abou-" Neville started, but then froze in mid-sentence, eyes going wide, breath leaving his lungs. Because there it was. What Neville had always wanted to see, ever since he'd gone back to school for his third year.
WE'RE COMING TO GET YOU!
AND YOU WON'T BE LONELY!
JUST WAIT FOR US!
WE'RE COMING TO HOGWARTS!
Neville felt a grin cross his face like a wildfire, taking up all the emotion and making him look the happiest he'd ever looked. Finally, finally, his best friends were coming to Hogwarts, and they were even staying by the sounds of it! Neville would no longer be the weird kid with no friends who talks too much! He would be Neville, finally Neville, because he would finally be thrown into the light by the shining, blinding radiance that was his comrades.
He could finally be Just Neville.
The brown-haired teen looked down at #2, who looked to be on his last legs, and scooped him up, plopping him on his shoulder and feeling the warm ball of fluff settle against his neck.
"You can stay with me until the others get here tonight," Neville said, relishing in the word 'others', felling like he was finally part of the group. "I'm sure they won't miss your company for a few hours. Me, on the other hand," Neville said, feeling #2's breathing level out, "I need a friend, hey?"
Neville closed his eyes, feeling all the tension slip away, but instead of sleeping, the teen thought back to the day when he met the Creators all those years ago…
~FLASHBACK HARP MUSIC CLICHÉ~
A short, plum-looking boy wandered down Diagon Alley, head down in defeat, heading in no direction in particular. He had just been told by his grandmother, who had just dropped him off, to entertain himself for a few days while she headed into Ireland for a comity meeting of 'Witches of Britain Civil Rights Board'. The twelve-year old new that his grandmother had been lying - she wasn't even on the WBCRB – and this was probably another ploy to scare accidental magic out of him. Even since it had been confirmed that the boy was definitely magical, his family still tried these stunts.
Preparing himself for four nights of sleeping in an alleyway (this had happened multiple times before), the boy didn't notice the strangers until they were nearly right in front of him. When he did, all of the breath was stolen from his lungs at their appearances…
The one at the front seemed to take the appearance of the leader, with long, black hair in a mess of curls and black, plain clothes on. Her eyes were sparkling with mirth as she howled with laughter at something the boy next to her had said, and every inch of her seemed to be burning with an intense, electric energy, something uncontrollable and wild and free. Something that made Neville feel a million miles below her.
The boy beside her also had long, black hair, but his was tied back at the nape of his neck, bangs falling over his eyes messily. He was practically a troll for his age, towering over all of the other teens and many passing adults. His vibe was practically the opposite of his leaders; it was calming and soothing, like the ocean on a nice day, but also stormy and destructive and frenzied, like the ocean in a hurricane. He wore light grey clothes that hung off his lanky frame and made him look ten times bigger than he was, in some strange way.
Behind that pair, reaching up to hit them both over the back of the head fondly, was another young teen, this one with frizzy, auburn-brown hair curling down over her shoulders and light brown eyes. She wore light turquoise and blue, her tanned skin shining in the sunlight, and seemed to have deposited her bags on the arm on the unsuspecting redhead beside her. Despite her laid-back appearance, her eyes were darting this way and that, watching everything around, slightly tense like a cobra waiting to strike.
Said redhead next to her was arguing good-naturedly with his shorter companion who wore purple. He had mischievous blue eyes and messy red hair that fell into his eyes, and gave off an air of complete relaxation, like no matter what happened, nothing could wipe the smile off his face. He was grinning happily, his whole aura giving the impression of unpredictability, just like fire. He wore a scruffy, orange band shirt and red pants.
The blonde he argued with was smiling serenely, looking around her with mild curiosity, her face nearly blank. It was obvious that she had lost interest in the conversation a while ago, and was now simply bored. She wore a purple, skin tight shit that showed off her developing curves, and a long, grey skirt patterned with silver stars. Her silver hair shone in the daylight. She walked and acted like a queen descending from her throne.
The finally member of the group looked to be the youngest, and looked to be sighing in fond exasperation as the leader reached across to ruffle his hair for the umpteenth time, reaching up to flatten it. His young face was soft and innocent-looking, though something about him made it seem like he wasn't. it didn't go unnoticed that all the other children were standing slightly in front of him, as is warning any enemies that dared even look at him badly to back off.
And that day, when the group of incredible children offered Neville a hammock in their basement room, he accepted, because there was something incredible about these kids; something completely incredible.
~FLASHBACK HARP MUSIC CLICHÉ END~
After that, it was history. Neville soon found himself being integrated into the group, and didn't leave until the day before school was due to start. He had a joint birthday party with Haley, their birthdays being only days apart, and became firm friends with Ron, Leo and Jake quickly. He stopped his hero-worship of Charlus Potter soon after hearing the really story; in fact, after hearing about how Charlus had treated Haley when she had lived with her parents, he started to detest his former hero. Going back to his house after disappearing for nearly two months was hard as well, due to his grandmother's rage, but Neville wrote to the Creators every day, keeping up a constant flow of owl mail that kept the boy positive. The Creators were like Neville's family, just very, very far away.
About a half a year after he had found himself part of that family, however, the letters that they sent to Hogwarts stopped coming. No matter how many times he wrote, asking for answers and praying that his friends were ok, Neville never got any reply. After two months, he stopped trying and slipped into a depression, lonely and afraid, constantly thinking about the friends that had become the most important thing in the world to him. His grades fell rapidly; he was scoring straight Ts in potions and Ps and As in everything else. No matter how hard anybody tried, Neville didn't come out of his slump.
But, miraculously, a month after Neville had stopped writing, he got a short but warm-hearted letter from none other than Leo, telling him not to worry; they were all ok. Haley had just gotten herself kidnapped and had been out of action for a few months – it had been hectic, yes, but everything was going to be fine. Neville had responded first with an angry howler, then with a long, heartfelt letter telling them how worried they had made him, and then an instant shower.
It was safe to say that the prank war had not, by any means, stopped any time soon after that.
Neville opened his eyes blearily when he heard the compartment door slam open again. He felt #2 stir on his shoulder, obviously disturbed. When his eyes found the door, Neville was met with the (rather hilarious) sight of a green-and-silver haired, pissed-looking Charlus Potter in the doorway, flanked by his two Ravenclaw lackeys and scowling darkly.
"Was it you who did that, Longbottom?" he asked, voice grating annoyingly on Neville's nerves.
"Did what?" Neville replied airily, deliberately trying to annoy Potter even more than he already was.
"Was it you who sent that spell that made my hair green?" Charlus repeated, sounding whiney. "I didn't see who it was, and I need to teach them a lesson!"
"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," said Neville mock-ignorantly, pretending to look at Charlus closely, squinting as if he was trying to impersonate Goyle as he worked out a tough transfiguration question. "You look the same as always to me."
A tick mark appeared on Charlus's pudgy face, and, before Neville could react, there was a thick, meaty fist in his face, then, another in his gut. Neville shouted in pain, doubling over and grinding his teeth as one last fist went flying into his knee-cap. There was a sickening crack; pain vibrated up Neville's leg and #2 shrieked in distress. Once he was sure that there were no more punches coming towards him, Neville looked up in time to see Charlus and his lackeys walk out, smirking, Charlus massaging his knuckles.
Neville lowered himself to the floor, groaning in pain, and coughed weakly, a tiny amount of blood flying from his lips. #2 was twittering in panic, flying around the compartment, desperate to find a way out until Neville grabbed him and plopped him back onto his shoulder.
"I'm fine, #2," said Neville in a choked voice, wiping blood away from his mouth and pulling himself off the floor painfully. "I've been through worse, much worse, and I can patch myself up."
The bird, despite the fact that he was a bird and didn't have facial expressions, looked unconvinced.
"I'll patch myself up,"" Neville repeated softly, running a hand through his hair. "I always do."
"Alright!" Haley called, grabbing all of the other Creators' attention and grinning excitedly. "Today, we show the wizarding world just what we Creators are made of, got it?!"
They group all cheered, and Haley grinned even wider.
"Let's give the audience a good show!"
More cheers answer that proclamation. The group are huddled together in the entrance hall to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, all wearing their coloured robes and decked out in a few too many weapons then was natural, waiting for Dumbledore to call their names, and the air around them was buzzing with excitement. They had sent #2 off the morning before, hoping that the owl would reach Neville before he got off the Hogwarts Express, and now all that was left to do was wait, give endless pep talks and hope against hope that they sunk in.
"I wonder what houses we'll be in?" said Hermione randomly, running a hand through the curls she had just about managed to contain that morning.
"Houses?" Haley asked, her own silver-streaked hair dead-straight and shining. "We're not going as students, remember? At least three of us have to be on duty at all times, and one at all times in the night."
"I know," Hermione replied, "but H said that we would be sorted, remember?"
"Yeah," said Ron, joining in the conversation. "Hermione's always right, remember? Laws of the Universe?"
"Oh, yeah!" laughed Haley, remembering a particularly strange conversation had within the group six months ago. The Laws of the Universe included;
A) Hermione knows everything,
B) Leo will never stop being hungry,
C) The sky is bigger than the ground.
As Haley and Ron laughed, Luna paced backwards and forwards, nervous and jumpy, until she felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see Jake looking at her in innocent concern.
"Why do you look so worried?" he said, leaning against the wall and inviting her to lean next to him. "That's Hermione's job, you know."
"I know," Luna said, chuckling, but gave nothing away about what she was thinking. Feeling Jake's eyes on her, however, she sighed and sagged against the wall. "I just…" She trailed off. "…I know it's stupid," she said eventually, eyes downcast, "but half of me is expecting me to see my father in there. Even though we know that he'd still in St. Mungo's, I'm just scared that he'll find me again."
"I'm sorry," Jake said softly after a moment. "But… Be honest. He never... hurt you, did he? He was a good father before he got ill?"
Luna smiled through watery eyes.
"The best father I could have wished for," she said softly.
The sweet moment was interrupted by Haley, and Luna swiped at her eyes hurriedly, happy when Jake's arm wrapped around her shoulders. That was why she got along well with Jake; his small, casual acts of affection were things that she treasured deeply, and nobody ever made them seem like more than they were.
"Oi, lovebirds!" Haley was saying, and Luna and Jake blushed in unison, Jake not removing his arm. "Let's get down to business!"
"Don't pick on my little brother!" Leo said jokingly. "Luna has the Leo Stamp Of Aproval. I'm fine with it!"
Hermione burst into laughter, now obviously a lot more laid-back than she had been earlier. "Come'n, guys!" she said happily. "Let's do this!"
As if waiting for Hermione to say this, Dumbledore's voice rung from the hall, loud and merry.
"This term, we will be having some visitors from another, small wizarding community in South England. They are here as an extra security precaution, and it would be appreciated if you treated them with due respect."
This was the cue for the Creators to enter; in a second, they were in the familiar formation, hoods up and doors swinging open with a flick of Haley's wand. The group strode in as many students jumped, turning wide eyes towards the imposing-looking six. The tension grew and grew, becoming unbearable, until Haley broke the silence, her voice happy and rather amused.
"Hey, old geezer," the Elemental said easily, and many of the staff gasped at the sheer audacity of the teen. "Are you just going to stand there gawping or…"
"Oh yes!" said the old Headmaster, coming back to his senses and smiling a grandfatherly smile down at the group, signature twinkle in his eyes. "Students, I would like to introduce the Mercenary group known worldwide, the Creators!"
There was complete, unadulterated silence as the group strode up the hall confidently, Leo tall and cold like a stone wall, Haley slim, and constantly moving, and electric like lightning. When the group reached the front of the hall where the Sorting Hat still sat, they stood in line, waiting for their names to be called. It took the transfiguration teacher a second to remember that she was meant to be call their names, but when she did, she blushed Gryffindor red, a very out of character thing for her to do, and cleared her throat.
"Azure," the Scottish teacher said, seeming disgruntled that there was no last name to call out. The blue-cloaked teen walked gracefully up towards the hat, taking it right out of her hands and sitting daintily on the wooden stool. Without raising her hood, Hermione lowered the hat onto her head.
It took only thirty seconds for the hat to decide where to put the girl, and by the time the hat came off her head, Hermione was grinning internally. 'Knowledge flows like water', the hat had said. She liked the sound of that. She would make a good Ravenclaw. Once she was sitting at her house table, she started to immediately talk to a blonde prefect about school rules, who looked pleasantly surprised to be talking to somebody so famous.
"Dawn," came next, and the hat had barely touched his white hood when it proclaimed; "GRYFINDOR!" The boy was smirking as he walked to his new house table, physically lifting a terrified first-year out of his seat and sitting lazily down.
"Dusk!" was the next called, and a cold whisper slipped down the hall, touching every table, because this girl was the one said to be murderous, monstrously strong, undefeated, sadistic-
"HUFFLEPUFF!" the hat called, sounding amused, and the whole hall gasped, save a black-haired giant who was roaring with laughter. Haley walked calmly towards her new house table (calm save for flipping off said black-haired giant), and once she was seated, she started a conversation with a devious-looking redhead, most likely about pranks.
"Spark!" Minerva called next, still looking shell-shocked. Ron rose, still stifling laughter, and the hat had the hardest time with him, staying silent for a good few minutes until it gladly proclaimed 'GRYFFINDOR!', and Ron walked shakily towards the red and gold table, where Leo was graciously vacating another first-year.
Jake was up next, face blank under his hood, and the hat was silent for nearly ten minutes in what was officially the longest sorting ever, before booming 'SLYTHERIN!'. The golden-eyed boy walked silently to his new house table, and only the Creators could see that he was disappointed by his body language.
Finally, the teacher called 'Whisp!', and Luna skipped happily over to the stool, sitting down happily and seeming to argue with the hat for a few minutes before it gave in and called 'SLYTHERIN!'. Luna was happy that she was in the wrong house. She didn't care that she 'ought to be a Ravenclaw'; she was happy to pay Jake back for all the support he'd even her. All the Creators new that he hated being alone, and it was kind of a silent agreement between them that somebody would have to stay with Jake in this new school.
Chatting at their house tables, they knew that the next few months would be hard; heck, everything would be a struggle until the war was over. Neville was hurt - they would soon find this out and Charlus Potter would have hell to pay. They would make new friends, new enemies and new allies. They would each discover what life really meant to them.
Because the know that there's something Missing inside them.
And they'll do anything to get it back.